Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil in a Blue Dress Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of narrating Devil in a Blue Dress in the first person? How would the novel change were it narrated in the third person?

  2. 2

    Imagine that one of the supporting characters narrated Devil in a Blue Dress in place of Easy Rawlins. Pick several major plot points and explain how they would change. Also include in your analysis any stylistic changes that would be made. Characters to consider: Mouse, Daphne, Mr. Albright, Hattie Parsons.

  3. 3

    How does Mosley use animal symbolism to give us insight into the characters' personalities? Discuss how animal symbolism helps shape two of the following characters: Easy, Mouse, Daphne, Matthew Teran.

  4. 4

    Research the black and Jewish communities of Los Angeles during the post-World-War-II years. Then explore Easy's commentary on the connection between Jews and African-Americans. Are his views typical? To what extent are they informed by his experiences as a soldier?

  5. 5

    Make a case for money as the motivating force of the novel. Make sure to use specific instances from the text to back up your assertions. Alternatively, argue why money is subordinate to another motivating force.

  6. 6

    How do Easy's experiences as a soldier affect the way he approaches situations and people? Take in to consideration especially Easy's attitudes about race, violence, and being a homeowner.

  7. 7

    In Devil in a Blue Dress, the characters develop different survival strategies in order to cope with their violent and unstable world. Choose one character and define his or her survival strategy. Do a close reading of his or her actions and words in order to reach and support your conclusions.

  8. 8

    Choose a character and explain why and how that person is a foil for Easy. Some characters to consider are: Mouse, Odell, Daphne, Mr. Carter, and Mr. Albright.

  9. 9

    Examine the major theme of race and racial prejudice. What factors affect the way in which Easy views these topics? Do his views change from the beginning of the novel to the end?

  10. 10

    How does Mosley use imagery and symbolism to explore the topic of race and racial ambiguity? Make sure to back up your statements with specific evidence from the text.

  11. 11

    Examine Easy's home as a symbolic space, and consider his experiences there in that light. What does Easy's home represent for him? Use specific evidence from the text to explain your findings.

  12. 12

    Why do you think Mosley makes sexual perversity such a large part of Devil in a Blue Dress? Is it gratuitous? If so, explain why specifically. If not, what does it signify?